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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Oilers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

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WATCH: Nick Foligno addressed the media after the game in Edmonton.

Here's Richards' media scrum following tonight's game in Edmonton.

POST GAME: Jack Johnson met with the media following tonight's game. Listen to his post-game comments ---> HERE.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards shares his thoughts on tonight's game. You can listen to his interview by clicking ---> HERE.

Three in the first, three in the second for the Oilers and they've blown this one wide open at Rexall Place. Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after David Perron scored to make it 4-0 early in the second period, and Curtis McElhinney didn't fare much better. Nail Yakupov scored on a rebound and Justin Schultz scored in his first game back from injury, and this one is quickly slipping away from Columbus. Not much to analyze in this one, really, with the Oilers completely dominating play from the drop of the puck tonight. One team started on time, the other did not.

Well, safe to say that was the worst 20 minutes of hockey the Blue Jackets have played all season and they were dominated by the Oilers. Edmonton leads 3-0 on goals from Eberle, Perron and Smyth (two power play goals) and out-shot the Jackets by a 15-3 margin in that opening period. After Sunday's solid performance in Ottawa, this was exactly what the Blue Jackets could not do in their next game; they were out-skated and out-worked in all three zones and their only real chance was in the opening moments of the game. These are two desperate teams, but one was far more desperate than the other; the Blue Jackets can't get it all back in one period but they have to chip away at the Oilers' lead and get a larger quantity of pucks at the net.

Mark Letestu talks about playing in his native province of Alberta and taking on a skilled Oilers club tonight.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media prior to tonight's game.

Here's the latest edition of the Top 5 plays of the week...what's your favorite?

Boone Jenner's pre-game interview prior to Jackets vs. Oilers at Rexall Place.

UPDATE (3:30 PM):
Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner, who made his return to the lineup Sunday in Ottawa, spoke to Bob McElligott about tonight's game vs. the Oilers. Hear that interview ---> HERE.

UPDATE (2:40 PM):
Blue Jackets forward Mark Letestu, an Alberta native, talks about tonight's game against the Oilers with Bob McElligott. Listen to the interview --> HERE.

UPDATE (2:30 PM):
Todd Richards said Matt Calvert will not play tonight in Edmonton, but is a possibility to play tomorrow night in Calgary. Realistically, Richards said, they're looking to Friday's game in Vancouver for Calvert to make his return from abdominal surgery.

UPDATE (1:55 PM):
Sergei Bobrovsky is tonight's starting goaltender for the Blue Jackets, who play their first of back-to-back games tonight. The Jackets are going with the same lineup used on Sunday in Ottawa.

UPDATE (1:40 PM):
An update from Blue Jackets TV voice Jeff Rimer...he says Bobrovsky starts tonight and same lineup as Sunday.

UPDATE (1:35 PM):
The Blue Jackets are on the ice for their morning skate at Rexall Place. Nathan Horton, who took part in Monday's optional practice, is practicing with the full group today as well. 

UPDATE (12:50 PM):
Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz is back in the lineup tonight after missing eight games due to a groin injury. The 23-year-old Schultz, out since Oct. 29, brings a dynamic element to Edmonton's blueline and they'll no doubt be thrilled to have him back.

UPDATE (12:30 PM):
Devan Dubnyk will start in goal for the Oilers tonight. With newly-signed Ilya Bryzgalov being called up earlier this week, the Oilers want to get him a couple more practices before he returns to game action.

The Blue Jackets are in Edmonton and they're scheduled to skate at 11:30AM local time Tuesday (1:30PM ET), in advance of their 9:30 PM face-off with the Oilers at Rexall Place. It's a big game for both sides, as each team won its previous game and wants to build some momentum moving forward. We'll have the latest on the lineup, starting goalies and more game day news as it becomes available. Stay tuned right here at Game Day Central!

The Blue Jackets welcomed one key part of their lineup back on Sunday...might they be line to welcome another?

Matt Calvert is with the Blue Jackets on this five-game road trip through Canada and last week, coach Todd Richards said the team has been targeting Tuesday or Wednesday for him to return. Calvert has not played since the first week of the season, and then underwent abdominal surgery that's kept him out for over a month. His return would be significant for the Blue Jackets, who dearly miss his tenacity on the forecheck and his secondary scoring element up front.

On the back end, Tim Erixon was recalled from Springfield on Sunday night and he is meeting the Jackets in snowy Edmonton. There is a strong possibility that he plays Tuesday against the Oilers, as Dalton Prout has been dealing with back spasms and the Jackets (prior to Erixon's call-up) didn't have an extra, healthy defenseman. 

Look for Sergei Bobrovsky to return to the net in Edmonton after a solid 29-save effort in the Jackets' 4-1 victory over the Senators. 

Both the Blue Jackets and Oilers enter Tuesday's game on the heels of timely victories.

Down 2-0 to provincial rival Calgary on Saturday night, the Oilers started a four-goal rally that stunned the Flames and their rowdy Scotiabank Saddledome crowd. Jordan Eberle got it started with a sick wrister from the slot (set up by Taylor Hall), and Ales Hemsky tied it up minutes later by batting a loose puck out of mid-air at the side of the net. David Perron, who like many of his teammates has been frustrated by a lack of scoring lately, scored the go-ahead goal from the icing line to put the Oilers ahead for the first time - and Edmonton was finally getting some breaks.

The Oilers' 4-2 win snapped a five-game losing streak and it was their first win since Nov. 5 in Florida. It came a few days after GM Craig MacTavish addressed the local media and offered his assessment of the Oilers' first 20 games, which had produced just four victories. Perhaps the most encouraging thing from Saturday's game for the Oilers was the performance of their young stars, who stepped up in a 2-0 hole and sparked a comeback that was desperately needed.

And with recent free-agent signing Ilya Bryzgalov now in the fold, things could get even more interesting.

Will the Oilers give Bryzgalov his first start on Tuesday night when the Blue Jackets come to town? Oilers coach Dallas Eakins hasn't yet ruled it out, but some in Edmonton believe Bryzgalov will debut for Edmonton on Thursday night against Florida. Regardless of who's between the pipes, the Blue Jackets have to build on Sunday's game in Ottawa and stick to what Todd Richards referred to as "Blue Jackets hockey."

There have been far too many Blue Jackets-Oilers games at Rexall Place that one could place in the "stinker" column - especially so in the last few years - and the Jackets have seen their share of multi-goal leads slip away in that barn. One of the keys to Tuesday's game is to do exactly what they did early on in Ottawa: play a "boring" road game, get the puck deep, go to work on the forecheck and win the special teams battle.

If they don't give the Oilers any momentum or anything to feel good about, the Blue Jackets will give themselves a chance to head to Calgary with two more points.



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